The world of gaming has undergone some significant changes lately, but the industry still faces the same stigmas that it has been fighting since the 1980s.

Gamers have a reputation for being teenage loners, but a new study finds that the gaming market’s demographics are becoming increasingly diverse.

The Study

The research was commissioned by the Interactive Games & Entertainment Association (iGEA) for the annual Digital Australia Survey. It was carried out by a team of researchers at Bond University, who were led by Dr Jeff Brand, interviewing more than 4000 residents in 1200 households across the country.

Although the study was limited to Australian residents, it provides an adequate sample size that is reflective of the market at large.

Gaming Households

According to the report, more than 90% of households in Australia have at least one gaming console. 61% of households have three or more. More than 80% of parents play with their children, and a large percentage use video games as a way of bonding with their families.

Games like Wii Sports and Mario Kart are ideal for gaming households. Many families enjoy engaging in these age appropriate multiplayer titles as a way to bond with their children and even older family members like grandparents. As such, gaming is becoming a very family-friendly activity.

Older Gamers

Dr Brand’s study also found that the largest growing group of gamers is the 40- to 60-year-old demographic. Individuals over the age of 50 represent a fifth of the video gaming world’s population. The study also found that the age of the average video gamer is 32-years-old, dispelling the myth that most gamers are teenagers.

The reasons for gaming range between each demographic. While 16- to 25-year-olds play video games like Grand Theft Auto and Pokemon for ‘thrills’ and to ease boredom, older players choose games like online slots and social games to keep their minds sharp and active.

Changing Attitudes

The most common misconception about video games nowadays is that they are antisocial activities. But, gone are the days of lonely teenagers playing console games alone in their rooms.

These findings show that video games are becoming increasingly social as players engaging in multiplayer games and families play video games together.

In fact, the study has found that a large majority of young people play video games in order to interact with their peers.